“Ground control to Major Tom”

LORELAI: [sings] Ground control to Major Tom . . .

Lorelai sings the opening words to “Space Oddity”, a 1969 song by David Bowie, from his album of the same name. It was released on July 11, in order to come out just ahead of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The lyrics are about an astronaut known as Major Tom who undertakes a solo space flight which malfunctions, leaving him floating through space, and seemingly unable or unwilling to make radio contact with Earth.

The song was praised by critics and used by the BBC during its coverage of the Moon landing, but initially sold poorly, and was banned in the US, due to its lyrics which repeat that “something’s wrong”, and its downbeat ending. After Bowie sang the song on Top of the Pops in October, the song rose to #5 in the UK. “Space Oddity” was released in the US in 1972, where it peaked at #15, becoming Bowie’s first US hit. It remains one of Bowie’s most popular songs, and is regarded as one of his greatest.

Lorelai sings this song as accepting her fate in going to the concert, as Major Tom calmly accepts his fate. (The song also mentions “planet earth is blue”, chiming in with Lorelai being told to wear blue to the concert).

However, Bowie didn’t actually perform “Space Oddity” on his Heathen Tour in the US, although he did sing “Ashes to Ashes” and “Hallo Spaceboy” – two other songs of his that feature the character of Major Tom. The three songs are sometimes known as the Major Tom Trilogy. “Space Oddity” was performed only once during the tour, in Horsens, Denmark.

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